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My take on ‘Pity the Nation’

Note: Last night when I read the stories that vandals protesting the film ‘Padmavaat’ hurled stones at a school bus with children and that multiplex association is succumbing to the demands of such goons, I had a mix of emotion, the strongest of them being anger. All I could think was the first line of the classic poem, ‘Pity the nation’, by Khalil Gibran. I took that first line and tried to put some words of my own with both tribute and apology to the great poet#.


Pity the Nation
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as a hero*
Pity the nation whose valor is in hurling stones at children
Pity the nation where opinions are enforced by muscle

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox*,
leader a wolf, people sheep and journalist a puppet
Pity the nation where pen is tied but sword is rampant

Pity the nation where sage is silenced and conman listened
Pity the nation where bigotry is called culture and xenophobia a virtue,
And streets are burned for selfish gains

Pity the nation where children sleep unfed,
Where rich are always the righteous and trickster is called genius
Pity the nation which tries to find happiness in numbers on a billboard

Pity the nation whose most valued asset is phantom pride
Pity the nation who raises not its voice except to oppress the weak,
And kneels not except the enemy is strong

Pity the nation which is indulged in past,
Whose facts come from story books,
Where minds are rarely ignited,
What prevails is apathy and what’s missing is a spine

Pity the nation which has lost its freedom before finding it ever

– Ks

# Apparently, I am not the first one to do so. Human beings much greater than me has also taken such liberty, most notably Lawrence Ferlinghetti, which is a relief.

* From original poem by Khalil Gibran

Extra Comments
As one can see this work is cynical in nature also very clear to anyone with a right palate would be the utter lack of beauty and subtlety. The fact is that I don’t know poetry and creating something beautiful was not my purpose. As for subtlety, this work is not born from ecstasy or love, or agony or anything that you might want to be subtle about. This is work of anger I let it be like that. Moreover, I don’t deem it necessary in the time of moral crisis. Even though it’s born out of recent events in India, and the state of modern day India in mind, what it says does not apply only to India, but any nation who exabits such qualities or a subset of such qualities. Lastly, even though devoid of beauty, lacking subtlety and born out of anger, I hope the reader will connect with the feeling that drives it and will see it as more than a rant.

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